We have been working with social software startups since 2005. We assist founders in developing skills for seeing multiple perspectives at play in the organization and within the ecosystems of business around them. We transform the perspectives that get people stuck.
- becoming aware of the ecosystem and network where the business is supposed to thrive
- how to build relationships and narratives that embed the service/product, give it direction, nurture it
- how to develop social ecosystems within software that tap into genuine human motivations and flows of interaction
Venture capitalists are aware of the trap of a hardworking internally centered team, trapped inside their own reality distortion field. Teams need to develop new perspectives and look from the outside to increase their access to wisdom and better navigate the challenging terrain of startup business. This is more valuable if it is done early, before the launch falls on barren rock.
Social software startups, like many startups, face a series of common challenges. Our services mitigate several of these challenges. A service focused consultancy, we rely on others for the deep analytics on startup success. For example, seeking to increase the success rate of startups and accelerating the pace of innovation, the Startup Genome Project surveyed 650 current startups. They conclude that:
The major reason for failure of startups is premature scaling. About 70 percent of our dataset showed up as premature scaling or inconsistency. Driving factors for inconsistency is too much capital, teams that are too large, bad team compositions, too little testing, etc.
To address these issues, we offer coaching, mediation, and facilitation.
- Facilitation of a group event enables a team to develop clarity of purpose, product, and process. Additionally, group activities charting roles and responsibilities generate clarity about individual and collective capability thereby reducing unproductive friction and increasing group effectiveness.
- Coaching addresses gaps between current action and potential for action. Additionally, coaching provides a time and space for reflection – which is where information gets processed into informed well thought out decisions.
- Mediation mitigates the detrimental effects of confrontations inevitable in the passionate world of entrepreneurship.
Startup Genome Project also states:
Most successful startups pivot at least once. Startups that pivot once or twice raise 2.5x more money, have 3.6x better user growth, and are 52 percent less likely to scale prematurely than startups that pivot more than two times or not at all. A pivot is when a startup decides to change a major part of its business.
An important part of a resilient startup is the ability to adapt to the learning that comes through the ongoing discovery process. To pivot well and wisely several key pieces of information inform decision-making.
- What evidence will we have that our current model is not working the way we expected it to? And how will we be sensing that evidence?
- Who influences our decision to pivot? How will we include those stakeholders in the decision? How do we communicate our shift? (Stakeholders range from investors to partners, allies, and customers/participants)
- Where are we willing to pivot? (we are willing to change target market, product design, funding model, and pricing structure, but not our mission or core values, for example.) To survive through the necessary changes and adaptations of the marketplace, be most willing to change HOW, then willing to shift WHAT, but stick to a core aspirational WHY.
Our consulting and facilitation services provide clear and simple ways to manage the layers of how you do what you do, what you do, and why you do it. Ask how we can co-develop clarity with your startup.
Startup Genome Project additionally states:
Early-stage startups spend most of their time discovering. Consistent startups spend two to four times as much time discovering who their customers are, whereas inconsistent startups are focused on validating that customers want their product. Consistent startups are searching. Inconsistent startups are executing.
It’s widely believed among startup thought leaders that successful startups succeed because they are good searchers and failed startups achieve failure by efficiently executing the irrelevant.
To listen well, we play the role of good anthropologists. As consultants, we assist startups in listening to the potential target market. Deep and active listening. Not focus groups. We have conversations in the wild. Listening is a two-phase activity – it requires us to both hear and see what is being shared/done and to notice what is significant about it.